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Retail Brand Management

The Luxe Insights of Luxury Retail

DLF Emporio made its luxurious debut in 2007. The mall features over 100 brands including international high end brands like Gucci, Versace, Bottega Veneta, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Tod’s, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hermes, Fendi and many more. The mall also features some Indian designer brands such as Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Anita Dongre, Manish Arora, Sumeet Verma, Shantanu and Nikhil among others.

Being a student at Luxury Connect Business School, I got the opportunity to visit this luxe mall and to interact with some of the luxury brands.  Stepping into the Dior boutique, I felt this was the closest I could come to being welcomed in Mr. Dior’s own Maison. Mr Anurag Tyagi, the country head of Dior India, welcomed us to the world of Dior. We’ve seen that in recent times, there has been a shift from physical products to experience, and Dior, as a brand leaves no loops in providing the exquisite and elegant experience that the brand stands for.

Louis Vuitton scored high in having the most interesting visual merchandising spread. Louis Vuitton provides excellent customer service to its customers. The brand gives its employees and customers the best retail experience possible.

The third brand we visited was Missoni, an Italian brand known for its colorful knitwear designs. Missoni inaugurated and affirmed an unmistakable way of dressing and living: with a colorful “put-together” of zigzag motifs, stripes, waves and slub yarns in a patchwork of geometric and floral jacquard.

The most fascinating garment in the store was a jacket made out of a single yarn, dyed in 27 colors!

The Roberto Cavalli store spoke volumes. As Cavalli says “I don’t understand minimalism. It is so polite and boring. If you don’t want anyone to notice you, you should stay home and grow your own vegetables” and this is exactly what you would find in a Roberto Cavalli store, his bold patterns and exotic animal prints. Being bold and stylish is his brand mojo and is seen all through the store.

Versace, I believe had the most attractive collection in comparison to other stores visited. The iconic Medusa logo is a perfect metaphor for the Versace’s brand style and core philosophy, which is empowered and seductive. Donatella Versace is not just famous for her designs: she is also a pop culture icon and well known for her elite entourage. Donatella’s pop culture influence is seen through out her collections, she uses different elements from the art period.

My experience at these stores was quiet enriching. Getting first hand in sights of how these retail stores work was highly valuable. The complete experience taught me that customer service and story telling are the requisites for the luxury brands. The impact of positioning and highlighting the merchandise in store ensured a clear message was communicated to the customers, no matter whether you step in a store in Italy, China or India.

Customers have never been as demanding as they are today and expectations continue to rise rapidly. In an effort to differentiate by enriching the brand experience, luxury brands are extending their focus of the brand-customer relationship beyond pre-purchase encounters and shopping experiences to come after the sale.

Brands need to ensure that they meet these expectations to fuel positive word of mouth in this increasingly demanding society. The second most critical aspect of luxury retail is storytelling. Weaving a tale instead of just selling the benefits, especially when you put the customer in the center of the story, creates long-term customers for life. The important key point here is that being an ambassador of luxury brand, you aren’t just selling products, you’re selling dreams.  I learnt that giving attention to details, openness to constant change and to personalize your services as per the customers is crucial.

The stores expressed themselves and exposed their collection, as they liked conveying their desired message and believe me, everyone had a story to tell. Luxury stores used a variety of merchandising techniques to build an aura of prestige, glamour and opulence for their brand. To get a job in a retail store one needs to understand the impact of product placement and customers first, and from, there, work your way up. Last but not the least, its all about gaining experience and working hard.  The complete journey would help me in the future to be a better brand representative.

 

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